Paris Holds the Largest Natural Hair Conference in the World

Recently, the Natural Hair Academy in Paris held one of the largest natural hair conferences in the world, boasting over thousands of natural beauties and vendors.

Black Enterprise was there to talk about how to feel comfortable in your own skin, but more importantly, what it takes to be unapologetically black. In addition to a representative from SheaMoisture, panelists included singer, actress, and co-host of the BET Africa TV show, BET A-List, Nandi Madida; acclaimed French pop-soul singer Imany; writer and “image activist” Michaela Angela Davis; and French-Senegalese journalist, award-winning filmmaker, and activist Rokhaya Diallo.

Writer and activist, Michaela Angela Davis, Representative from Shea Moisture, (name unlisted), French TV Host, Rokhaya Diallo, Tech Editor, Sequoia Blodgett, acclaimed French artist, Imany, Nandi Madida from BET Africa - (Image: Natural Hair Academy)Right to Left: Michaela Angela Davis, Representative from SheaMoisture, Rokhaya Diallo, Sequoia Blodgett, Imany, Nandi Madida (Image: Natural Hair Academy)


Even Farouk James was there, a child model who’s already achieved celebrity status and has even appeared on NBC’s Little Big Shots due to his luscious locks. James appeared with his beautiful signature curly mane in tow.


Farouk James pictured along side of other natural hair models Farouk James pictured along side of other natural hair models (Image: Isabelle Mo)


Brands like SheaMoisture, CURLS, Cantu Beauty, The Mane Choice, and Carolina-B also showed up and showed out by giving live hair demonstrations. The informative demos were all about how to best nourish and maintain curly textured hair.

When Nandi Madida was asked if she thought that natural hair was simply a trend, she had a few choice words, which really resonated with the audience. “Natural hair means everything. It means loving your skin—who you are, your self-esteem—and it is paramount. It is not a trend; it is who we are.”

Lately, there has been increased emphasis on the negative aspects of cultural appropriation, especially for the black community (note the necessity of Katy Perry’s recent apology to the black community). But, the natural hair movement seems to be one cultural phenomenon that the black community can take full ownership of and ultimately commodify.

Yet and still, one glaring problem still remains—access to capital. Most of the larger, well-known brands happen to be owned by stakeholders that, more than likely, could not tell you what a Bantu knot is. In order for the black community to take total ownership of the natural hair care movement at scale, things need to start at the investing level. Unfortunately, many black entrepreneurs still struggle with getting their foot in that particular door.

So, where does that leave us? We have to continue to fight and ensure that we partner with the right investors that understand and share the overall mission of these companies. This way, we can continue to provide products to the masses and properly service our communities.

In the meantime, let’s continue to support these efforts, where we can. To find out more details about the Natural Hair Academy conference, click here.



At Last! Steve Harvey’s ‘Funderdome’ Debuts

Steve Harvey

Steve Harvey and acclaimed TV producer Mark Burnett have teamed up to turn entrepreneurs’ quest for funding into a new seed-funding competition reality series called Steve Harvey’s Funderdome.

Steve Harvey (Image: Instagram/Funderdomeabc)


On the show, which premiered Sunday on ABC, two aspiring inventors compete to win a large cash prize, which will be used to fund their ideas, products, or companies. In order to win, they pitch their product to a live studio audience, who determines which inventors should win the funding. But here’s the catch: Before revealing the results of the crowd’s majority, Harvey, the show’s host, gives the inventors the option to cash out for a smaller amount of money. “If an inventor cashes out, they forgo the opportunity to win the whole cash prize for that round—a good move if they lost the crowd vote—but a bad move if they would have won it,” reads a press release on the show.

A number of energetic investors with amazing products were featured on the series premiere. One of the promising inventors was Tanya Tibbs, a black entrepreneur from Georgia who used her dynamic personality to pitch The V-Smart Bar, a holistic feminine care soap.


Steve Harvey (Tanya Tibbs, creator of The V-Smart Bar Image: Twitter/FunderdomeABC)


Tanya competed for $10,000 against Misti and Grant Morningstar, a mother-and-son team that created a line of soaps made from olive oil and other vegan ingredients called Savage Soaps.

Other competitors included Craig Rabin, the creator of Airhook, a secure mount for smartphones and tablets that attaches to tray tables on airplanes. He went head-to-head with Grace L. Chang, the inventor of Soarigami, a divider that looks like a paper airplane and attaches to an armrest to extend personal space.

Steve Harvey’s FUNDERDOME is produced by MGM Television and internationally distributed by MGM. In addition to executive producing the show, Burnett is also the EP behind NBC’s The Voice, CBS’ Survivor, and ABC’s Shark Tank.

“Steve Harvey’s FUNDERDOME” airs Sundays at 9/8 c on ABC.